This excerpt is from a story written by Stephen Koff that appeared  in The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer on October 25, 2004. Those conducting this study regard it as an example of nonsubstantive political coverage.

Not a soul in Ohio or national politics believes that Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and running mate [John] Edwards can actually win in Allen County, one of the most rock-solid Republican counties in the state.

But with some voters sore over job losses and others questioning the war in Iraq—this, in a city that takes pride in being home of the only combat tank-maker in the United States—Democrats say they have a chance to hold back the runaway victory that gave Bush a better than two-to-one margin over Al Gore in 2000.

That’s why Edwards, in open-collar blue shirt and navy blazer, visited for about a half-hour, making what otherwise would seem an unusual stop in a daylong bus tour. Earlier Sunday he went to a predominantly black church in Cincinnati and then to an urban high school in Dayton, both places certain to give Democrats comfort.

After leaving Lima, the blue campaign bus took Edwards to Toledo, another Democratic stronghold, where he spent the night and plans to speak this morning before flying to Wisconsin and Iowa.

In Allen County, the Democrats’ strategy is not to try to win but, rather, to hold down the Bush numbers. If Kerry and Edwards could make Allen County’s Republican lead take a dip, it’ll mean Bush has to outperform in other, less-secure parts of the state such as northeast Ohio. Given the dead-heat nature of the race, any votes Bush loses here have to be made up elsewhere for him to win.

“When you’re in western Ohio, you just try to keep down the margins,” said Dan Trevas, spokesman for the Ohio Democratic Party.

The Kerry-Edwards campaign would consider it a win “if we can get up to 40 percent in Allen County,” said Jim Ruvolo, the campaign’s Ohio campaign chairman.

County Democratic chairman Gary Frueh sees his county’s role this way: “If we get in the 40, 45 percentile, Kerry may win the state.”

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